Monday, April 7, 2008

Let's Talk About Patterns

How many times do you buy a pattern because the colors that the pattern is made with appeal to you? That is probably why you buy the majority of the patterns you buy, right? I think this is something that we as quilters have a tendency to do. So we buy pattern after pattern because it appeals to us colorwise, and before we know it, we have lots and lots of patterns. And when we look at them, a lot of them are variations of the same thing done in different colors.

I know I am extremely guilty of this. However, I have finally started to try to pay attention to what the pattern actually is about. What combinations of half square triangles, straight cuts, odd cuts that look difficult, etc. is a particular pattern composed of. Is it a combination that appeals to me, or is it the color. Is it difficult and time consuming and will I enjoy doing it even if I don't do it in the colors the pattern is done in. Or, is it simple, and I can do it quickly and feel like I have accomplished something with not much effort, and I don't have to use the colors shown in the pattern.

I think these are things all of us should think about when we buy a pattern. Some of them are done in color combinations that don't always apppeal to us or show the possibilities of them.

Here is a perfect example. When you first look at this pattern you automatically see reproductions of some era of quilting, and you may just love it. But if you don't like that era, you may pass this pattern by unless you really look at it. It has lots of movement and is basically an easy 2 block quilt with setting triangles, and would be terrific for lots of color combinations.



Here is this same quilt pattern done in brights. See what a difference the colors make? Look a little closer at patterns, you might find the perfect one that has just the elements you are looking for. See if you can picture yourself making this quilt. Is it too easy, is it too difficult, does it have an element you want to add to your quilt making skills? Do you get really excited about making the pattern? Or, are you just looking for a quick quilt to make because you “had to have” the fabric you bought. I think you will enjoy your quilting more if you think about these things before you invest your time and money.








And this is my take on patterns, what do you look for when you choose patterns?


14 comments:

Lisa D. said...

I certainly would have passed on that pattern based on the photo, but just LOVE it in the brights!

Libby said...

I do try to think about how I might change up fabrics, etc. to fit my taste and style . . . because I have a lot of 'uh-oh' patterns in my stash I finally learned to look just a little closer.
At my LQS there is a book for sale that the shop owner put a sticky on - 'Ugly Cover - Cute Quilts' *s*

Karen said...

I think most of us are affected by the colors and style of fabric shown on the pattern picture. I am drawn to designs that have flying geese, arcs and points, lots of triangles. I tend to overlook simple patterns until I see someone else's quilt using that pattern and colors that I love. I very much like patterns that combine piecing and applique. The piecing can be a more simple design if the applique makes things pop.
It is interesting seeing the pattern cover that you posted and a more contemporary and bright quilt made from it.

Red Geranium Cottage said...

I always try to see a pattern in the colors I like, not exactly what the designer might have used. It really makes a difference in the whole quilt when you change it doesn't it?

Ginger Patches said...

Great post. I have been thinking about these things lately also. Lots of good food for thought--thank you :)

Shelina said...

I don't buy a lot of patterns - generally books and magazines, but I do have to admit that I am drawn to the colors. I try very hard not to be, because my brain knows the whole point of making a quilt yourself is that you can customize it exactly to your own specifications. But it really is hard for me to picture a quilt in my head in a different colorway.
One of the first classes I took, they showed a variety of quilts made with that pattern - and the directions talked about light, dark and accent fabric, which helped a lot.

Knot Garden said...

You're right, colour is the first thing that I see when I look at a pattern. But I also look for a balance and harmony in the design. Sometimes if I like the way it has been done, I will try to reproduce the same effect. Other times I see a good basic pattern and in my mind I amm imagining it done slightly differently. I think what I look for in a pattern are possibilities.

Julia said...

I think that I look at the design its self first, then I look at the difficulty. I don't really have any trouble with imagining it in different colors. I am drawn to stars and applique. Great topic!

Juliann in WA said...

This reminds me of a time when my daughter was young and I wanted to make a dress for her. I showed her the pattern and she said she didn't like it. She got so stuck on the fabric on the pattern cover that she couldn't imagine this dress in a fabric she would like. I tend to be drawn in by colors too but I am working on tweaking patterns so that they fit my style too.

Marcie said...

I think I am a sucker for the fabrics. No, I think I am addicted to the fabrics. I know that patterns can look totally different according to fabric choice and it always amazes me. Nice job with the choices in yours!

Latharia said...

I hadn't thought about it before ... but I completely agree with you ... mostly, I'm color-driven!

Suzy Quilter said...

I love the bright colors in that quilt. They always sparkle even more when used with black. As for patterns, it's whatever floats my boat at the time. :o)

P.S. Check out my blog -- you've been tagged! :o)

May Kristin said...

Good question! I sometimes try to see "behind" the pattern, but it is not always easy. Very often you only see the fabrics and colours you don't like, and forget the opportunities that lies IN the pattern!

Nicole said...

What a great post Perry! My first inclination was to say that for me, it all begins with the fabric, and that the pattern selection would be inspired as a result. But, in thinking it over, I guess it works both ways. I agree with Lisa, that the pattern photo would not have inspired anything out of me, but seeing the fabulous sample made with the brights really gets my imagination going. I am thinking of how great it would look in a fall color version, with deep greens, browns, rusts, dark purples and burgundy. Hmmm, where can I get that pattern?